10 Quick tips to improve StartPage Search further

Martin Brinkmann
Apr 1, 2014
Internet, Search

For some time now I have used the search engine StartPage as the main search engine in Firefox. While I switch regularly to other search engines such as DuckDuckGo, it is StartPage that I try first before every other search engine.

What I like about StartPage is that it is using information provided by Google to power its search engine but does not come with the added baggage of doing so. Ads are kept to a minimum and the makers promise that they do not track you while you use the search engine.

While StartPage works fine out of the box, you can get more out of it by adjusting a couple of preferences that are made available and by using functionality that is provided on top of search.

StartPage Tips

Here is a list of ten quick improvements that you can make to StartPage.

1. Bookmark Searches

You can bookmark searches with a click on the bookmark this search link that StartPage displays on every results page. While this may not be useful for one-time searches, it may prove useful if you search for the same terms regularly.

Instead of having to re-enter the search phrases every time you want to perform the search, you simply load the bookmark that does the same thing.

2. Add StartPage to your browser

You can add the StartPage search engine to your web browser. I have only tested this in Firefox though and your experience with different browsers may vary. Just visit the Add to Browser page on StartPage and click on the install link next to https (or http if you prefer that) after you have selected the language that you want to use.

3. Advanced search

Load the advanced search page on the website to access a list of additional search options that you can use. From searching for specific file types to regional searches or results that have to match an exact phrase.

Experienced Internet users know that it is possible to use the syntax directly when you are searching. Exact searches for instance are enclosed with "quotation marks".

If you prefer a visual interface, this is the one to use. To make things easier, it is possible to set the default StartPage homepage to advanced search here.

4. Generate advanced preferences url

startpage preferences

You can modify several preferences such as the desired language on the advanced preferences page. Here you have the option to save a cookie on your computer so that they are remembered across sessions, or to generate an url instead.

If you select the url, no cookie will be saved to the system but it means that you will have to load the url every time you want the selected preferences to be used.

One interesting option here is to save multiple sets of preferences, for instance one with web filtering turned on, one with filtering turned off.

5. Disable filters

Search filters are enabled by default. There is a web/picture family filter that is turned on depending on the search term, and a video family filter that is enabled.

Both filters try to block adult results from appearing in the search results. You can disable both filters completely on the advanced configuration page.

6. Anonymous image and video search

When you enable this option, image and video thumbnails that are displayed to you on StartPage are not saved to the local browser cache. This can be useful if you do not want results to appear in the local cache.

Please note that clicking through to the result itself will add it to the cache, but as long as you only see the thumbnails on StartPage, information are not cached permanently.

7. Change font size

You can change the font size in the advanced preferences. From the default medium to small or the larger variants large or very large.

Small displays more results on the same space, while large or very large may improve the accessibility of the results.

8. Search within results


Sometimes when you run a search, you may get too many results and may want to narrow them down as a consequence. You can use StartPage's search within results feature to run a second search that uses the first search terms that used and additional phrases that you add to that.

9. StartPage Toolbar

Toolbars are not really liked this much, but the StartPage toolbar may convince you otherwise. It not only includes search options but takes care of third-party tracking cookies as well as Flash Cookies for you.

It offers a translate feature, search term highlighting or zoom buttons directly from its interface. It appears to be only available for Firefox.

10. StartPage on Android or iOS

You can install the StartPage search engine on your mobile device to use it natively on it. This adds another option to use the search engine on your device. Note though that you can also open any browser and load the StartPage website using it to run searches on your device.

10 Quick tips to improve StartPage Search further
Article Name
10 Quick tips to improve StartPage Search further
Provides you with information on how to get the most out of the privacy-focused search engine StartPage.

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  1. ilev said on August 4, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    Doesn’t Windows 8 know that www. or http:// are passe ?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on August 4, 2012 at 7:57 pm

      Well it is a bit difficulty to distinguish between name.com domains and files for instance.

    2. Leonidas Burton said on September 4, 2023 at 4:51 am

      I know a service made by google that is similar to Google bookmarks.

  2. VioletMoon said on August 16, 2023 at 5:26 pm

    @Ashwin–Thankful you delighted my comment; who knows how many “gamers” would have disagreed!

  3. Karl said on August 17, 2023 at 10:36 pm


    The comments section under this very article (3 comments) is identical to the comments section found under the following article:

    Not sure what the issue is, but have seen this issue under some other articles recently but did not report it back then.

  4. Anonymous said on August 25, 2023 at 11:44 am

    Omg a badge!!!
    Some tangible reward lmao.

    It sucks that redditors are going to love the fuck out of it too.

  5. Scroogled said on August 25, 2023 at 10:57 pm

    With the cloud, there is no such thing as unlimited storage or privacy. Stop relying on these tech scums. Purchase your own hardware and develop your own solutions.

    1. lollmaoeven said on August 27, 2023 at 6:24 am

      This is a certified reddit cringe moment. Hilarious how the article’s author tries to dress it up like it’s anything more than a png for doing the reddit corporation’s moderation work for free (or for bribes from companies and political groups)

  6. El Duderino said on August 25, 2023 at 11:14 pm

    Almost al unlmited services have a real limit.

    And this comment is written on the dropbox article from August 25, 2023.

  7. John G. said on August 26, 2023 at 1:29 am

    First comment > @ilev said on August 4, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    For the God’s sake, fix the comments soon please! :[

  8. Kalmly said on August 26, 2023 at 4:42 pm

    Yes. Please. Fix the comments.

  9. Kim Schmidt said on September 3, 2023 at 3:42 pm

    With Google Chrome, it’s only been 1,500 for some time now.

    Anyone who wants to force me in such a way into buying something that I can get elsewhere for free will certainly never see a single dime from my side. I don’t even know how stupid their marketing department is to impose these limits on users instead of offering a valuable product to the paying faction. But they don’t. Even if you pay, you get something that is also available for free elsewhere.

    The algorithm has also become less and less savvy in terms of e.g. English/German translations. It used to be that the bot could sort of sense what you were trying to say and put it into different colloquialisms, which was even fun because it was like, “I know what you’re trying to say here, how about…” Now it’s in parts too stupid to translate the simplest sentences correctly, and the suggestions it makes are at times as moronic as those made by Google Translations.

    If this is a deep-learning AI that learns from users’ translations and the phrases they choose most often – which, by the way, is a valuable, moneys worthwhile contribution of every free user to this project: They invest their time and texts, thereby providing the necessary data for the AI to do the thing as nicely as they brag about it in the first place – alas, the more unprofessional users discovered the translator, the worse the language of this deep-learning bot has become, the greater the aggregate of linguistically illiterate users has become, and the worse the language of this deep-learning bot has become, as it now learns the drivel of every Tom, Dick and Harry out there, which is why I now get their Mickey Mouse language as suggestions: the inane language of people who can barely spell the alphabet, it seems.

    And as a thank you for our time and effort in helping them and their AI learn, they’ve lowered the limit from what was once 5,000 to now 1,500…? A big “fuck off” from here for that! Not a brass farthing from me for this attitude and behaviour, not in a hundred years.

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